We’re in an age of self-driving cars, proposed plans to travel to mars, and scientists who can clone monkeys, so when are we going to find a better way to fight cavities? Right now we have some pretty wild solutions.
Scientist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have created a small molecule that has successfully prevented tooth cavities by making making teeth too slippery for bacteria to bind to. The inhibitor blocks the function of a key virulence enzyme in bacteria known to cause cavities in order to sabotage the bacteria’s ability to make the protective and sticky biofilm that allows it to glue to a tooth’s surface where it eats away tooth enamel.
Although the study has been successful so far, it’s still in a pretrial phase and a long way from making it to the market. Until there’s an easier solution to prevent cavities, here are three steps to take today.
Cavities are caused from an overabundance of certain strains of bacteria. These bacteria don’t need to steal away into our mouths because they’re already there. By eating a diet high in sugar and starch, we feed these bacteria allowing them to multiply and congregate in our mouths. When there are enough of them, they stick to teeth, feed on sugar, and produce an acidic byproduct that wears away our natural enamel, and eventually causes cavities.
One of the most effective ways to stop cavities from forming is by eating a balanced diet low in added sugars and simple starches that can be turned into sugars.
Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
The American Dental Association recommends brushing and flossing twice daily in order to prevent cavities and periodontal disease. It takes between 24 and 48 hours for plaque, which carries a slew of bacteria culpable for most cavities, to form, so along with regular brushing and flossing, time of day is important. The best time to brush is generally before going to bed, and before leaving the house, catching plaque before it can harden.
Unfortunately, brushing isn’t enough. Flossing allows you to reach plaque hidden in the gumline or between teeth. When flossing, make sure to dip below the gumline periodically.
Get Checkups Every Six Months
Accompanied with a good diet and oral hygiene, getting regular checkups and cleanings is one of the best ways to prevent cavities from becoming severe enough to require a root canal. Dental complications don’t appear overnight. In general, they take a long time to manifest, and if caught early they can be entirely preventable.
If you haven’t visited the dentist in awhile, it may be time to schedule an appointment. If you’re looking for a general dentist in Valdosta, GA, please call (229) 242-5511 or email for an appointment with Dr. Nelson Clements.